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it's private
Silver Maple Forest (Belmont Uplands)
proposed clearcutting is a cause of great concern
letter to Cambridge Conservation Commission

Tuesday, March 4, 2003
To: Cambridge Conservation Comm.
And City Council

To: Cambridge Chronicle: Robert Greene, Editor

*Peter Alden
Concord, MA

Silver Maple Forest (Belmont Uplands)

The proposed clearcutting of much of the roughly 15 acre site between Spy Pond, Little Pond and the Little River of the MDC Alewife Brook Reservation is a cause of great concern. Much outrage has evolved concerning storm water, sewage, flooding (deeper floods in basements of West Cambridge and East Arlington). Traffic from employees on Route 2 would bring another 1000 car trips per day in a saturated area, and many public works problems of storm water runoff and pollution downstream in Cambridge if a large office building is built on the forested site.

Ninety-five percent of the former woods, marshes and farms of this basin have already been covered with highways, railroads, homes, offices, and businesses. The silver of streamside habitat in the reservation and its animal life will suffer enormous species loss if the magnificent adjacent Silver Maple forest is destroyed.

This is the last i.e. final unprotected remnant forest within 5 miles of the state house. I know of no other pure forest of Silver Maples in greater Boston or statewide. The Red Fox, Coyote, Canadian Beaver, White-tailed Deer and other mammals, along with nesting Wood Ducks, American Woodcock and Wood Thrush would lose their last strronghold this close to Harvard Square and the state house. We would be aiding in reducing these species.

The high fence and paved path around Fresh Pond diminish the exploring nature experience still possible at Alewife AND the adjacent Silver Maple forest. The 100,000 students and citizens living in this basin can still walk in a tall quiet forest on a dirt trail as Daniel Boone and Henry David Thoreau once did.

When the office building goes up and the vast paved lots and roads encircling it are reality, that last morsel of wilderness of 'inner greater Boston, now much urban sprawl dies an asphalt death. The integrity of the diverse habitats and their wildlife at the Alewife reservation will be compromised, and 100,000 diverse people become further isolated from nature. Nature's gifts are what the human spirit needs most at this moment.

Please consider and initiate a land swap. Share tax revenues between the 3 towns such that the forest is preserved and a similar sized building erected closer to the Alewife T stop. Use existing building footprints such as the present ADL site owned by Bulfinch Companies.

*Author of 14 nature books including the National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England; Biodiversity Days organizer for former Environmental Affairs Sec. Bob Durand; Steering Committee of Harvard Museum of National History, R.T. Peterson Lecture Series; President of Cambridge-based Nuttall Ornithological Club, Cambridge resident (15 years)